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Monday, 28 November 2016

A day at the Garden Media Guild awards

Back the hot days of high summer, I went to a Garden Media Guild event at Easton Walled Gardens - I wrote about it here....

Apart from the stunning location, interesting talks, and delicious lunch, I was delighted by the sheer affability of everyone, the inclusiveness, and the sheer wealth of knowledge of all things horticultural in one place.

Over a glass of pre lunch prosecco , I couldn't help but notice that many of the guests had the same gardeners hands as I have.Well they didn't have my fat fingers, including a broken one, but none of the women had long polished talon like nails...these were all workaday hands of women who garden. We compared notes

 I felt at home....especially when Constance Craig Smith, who is on the committee handed me a card and said "Why not join us?"

So I have done,  and on Thursday I went to the Garden Media Guild Awards lunch at the Savoy Hotel in London.

Let loose in London on my own, I can be a bit of liability, but managed to get straight there without interruption or deviation , just a brief pause to photograph the decorations in Covent Garden before sweeping into the Savoy Hotel.

Now The Savoy may only be a mere two hours from my cottage in a teeny, tiny village, but it's a world away too. Oh such smart people enjoying coffee, luxury around each corner, such polite and welcoming staff...I liked it.

Before the drinks, lunch and the awards, there was the AGM....where items on the agenda were swiftly dispatched until the last item which ignited direct discussion, even passion.

But then onwards and upwards (literally ) for pre lunch drinks in a beautiful room. Hundreds of people, thousands of air kisses, the decibel levels rising higher and higher, the laughter, the hundreds of glasses of champagne discreetly and attentively poured and drunk eagerly, and the sheer joy of overhearing snippets of the most unlikely conversations between writers and broadcasters I've read and watched for years.

Then lunch!

Who would I be sitting with? Would I know anyone? Well, no, but that didn't matter one iota as I was sat on such a great table, planted between the lovely Natalie Ashbee and Alexandra Campbell. Alex is a writer of books and broadcast plays and and I've been reading her Middle Size Gardens blog for ages, Natalalie is a horticultural researcher on Gardeners World .

We've all lived and worked in Bristol at different stages of our lives, so we didn't stop nattering until the wonderful Carol Klein gave an ascerbically, amusing keynote welcome and speech which was greatly appreciated in the room.


 Lunch. How can hundreds of people be served efficiently with a delicious three course lunch plus coffee in just over an hour? I don't know but it happened and the tension mounted as we all finally quietened down for the awards.

Best gardening book, best journalist, best blog, best photographer....the categories kept a coming, but there was one I was really interested in - I was a finalist in the Radio Broadcast of the Year

No I didn't win, but Lucy Dichmont and Alex Feldman did from the RHS did, so huge congratulations to them.


So many worthy winners for  each category, inspiring us all.

But the proceedings weren't finished....there were more air kisses of congratulation amongst winners, old friends were nattering away merrily  as they caught sight of each other, and some (OK it was Natalie and James Alexander Sinclair}   posed perfectly for the camera.

By now, it was dusk, and everyone began to drift off in a flurry of coats, scarves and goody bags from the kind sponsors of the Guild Awards.

Oh and many scooted off to the pub too, including Natalie and I. Cue more prosecco and chatting!

Such a perfectly lovely day - I'm rather looking forward to next year's event. In the meantime, there's lots of other garden events planned for members of the guild during the spring and summer,  and I can't wait......


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